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Facilities and Kingdom Thinking

Buildings are not ministry. People are ministry. Buildings are a tool for ministering to people. While I often deal with facility issues, my real passion is for the people and ministry impact that those facilities can enhance.

This point was highlighted during our recent Building Retirement Service at Zion Bible Church. During that final service, we played a portion of the video showing the construction of the church building from the 1930’s. You can view it here. It is an actual video, not just a collection of still photographs. Yes, it’s black and white and there is no sound (there is a musical background), but it is a fascinating documentation of the building progress. Those were forward thinking people who had the wisdom to document the process without any of the technology or social media formats that characterize today.

While it is interesting to see the progress of the building, please note that this video is really about people. Despite the teeth of the depression years, many faithful workers gave of themselves and contributed to the construction. They gave their best as demonstrated by numerous clips of men working while wearing ties and dress clothes. We smile at that practice today, but it should also make us pause to ponder the daily life dynamics that prompted such “work clothes.” I understand that often workers showed up during their lunch breaks or right after work. Many were unemployed but did not stop productive labor as they contributed to the church what they could. And please note how often people are smiling. Now maybe that’s because the cameraman told them to smile, but there seems to be more depth to the expressions of joyful service. They were not simply building a building, but they were contributing to Kingdom work.

The video about the building of the building is not really about the building, it is about the people. Although it was difficult to leave that facility after the Building Retirement Service, everyone realized it’s about people and not buildings.

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